Children learn and develop skills by interacting, observing and experiencing the world around them. The environment associated with the child influences the child behaviour. Earlier child behaviour was mainly influenced by the family and the school. The family plays a crucial role for the overall psychological development of children as it lays the foundation for the development of a healthy personality in adulthood. The school plays a crucial and a formative role in the development of cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional and moral functions and competencies in a child. The mental health of children is intricately rooted in the socio – cultural milieu and environment in which they live. Recently Television is one of the most prevalent media influencing the children lives. The child is exposed to a variety of programs pertaining to nature, entertainment, cartoons, sports, films, serials, advertisements, etc. In particular cartoons have gained prominence among children because of their high-speed flashes of light, rapid color changes and movements arrest the child’s concentration. Children begin watching cartoons on television at an early age of six months and by the age two or three children become enthusiastic viewers. The children are at discretion to choose the cartoon programs which in turn indirectly influences their development. The cartoon mesmerizes the child and replaces the childhood activities like playing with friends, being physically active, getting fresh air, reading, playing imaginatively, doing homework, doing chores. Though cartoons are thought as entertaining, they have a positive as well as negative influence on children depending upon the theme and the content. Some cartoons are neutral and purely meant for entertainment, some are educational but some are violent to the core. While watching cartoons, children often identify themselves with the characters. However, the problem is that these characters are usually inappropriate for any identification, since they are too aggressive, or have supernatural powers: they can fly, shoot spider web from the wrist, jump from the top of a skyscraper on the buildings nearby, throw a lightning bolt, run faster than the wind, fall from the 10th floor and stay unharmed, beat 15 criminals single-handedly, and similar. These aggressive characters may easily turn into role models. Without the supervision of the parents, who will explain the difference between reality and fiction (which is not always the case since they are usually busy and prefer to leave the kids in front of the TV), children can use cartoons as a substitute for real life. This might be a threat for the child’s psychological development. Unfortunately, there are cases where children take cartoons to an extreme.
Cartoons have a great influence on language. They are adopting inappropriate words and imitate the style and language of cartoons.Parents must keep a check on their children what type of cartoons they are watching. Violent and aggressive cartoons can lead to aggressiveness in children’s behaviour. Although, they must be supervised on daily basis but it is also helpful to keep an eye often on the cartoon content and children behavior. If the child is showing any change in his/her routine life, and behavior his/her cartoon content and behavior with siblings/friends and other activities must be checked and any necessary changes needed must be carried out.